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September 18, 2012 > No support this year for middle class students

No support this year for middle class students

Submitted By CA State Student Association

AB 1500 (Perez), the funding source for the Middle Class Scholarship Act, died on the Senate Floor on August 31. The Middle Class Scholarship Act (AB 1501) would have provided struggling middle class college students with a 60 percent scholarship to help cover the rising cost of tuition. The scholarship would have been funded by mandating the use of the Single Sales Factor tax formula by out-of-state businesses. While this is disappointing news, students across California's three higher education segments have organized and worked hard to advocate for the reinvestment in higher education. In March, ten thousand students and allies gathered in Sacramento to advocate for the reinvestment of higher education by the state and, in the last week of the legislative session, AB 970 (Fong) and SB 1456 (Lowenthal) both passed the legislature last week with bipartisan support. Both bills now head to the Governor for his signature.

Perhaps most importantly, student advocacy work on the Middle Class Scholarship Act forced a conversation about the effects of the state's divestment in higher education with every legislator. "In the week leading up to the vote on the Middle Class Scholarship, UC students contacted seven senators over 5,700 times through email and phone conversations. Californian's did their part to advocate for this bill, however, legislators throughout the state failed to live up to their obligations and chose to play politics with the lives of middle class families", says UCSA President, Angelica Salceda.

Going forward, students across California will use the momentum from our recent legislative victories and shortcomings to fight for greater support of higher education through voter mobilization efforts and advocacy for the passage of Proposition 30. "CSU students are disappointed that the Middle Class Scholarship Act did not pass the Senate last Friday, however, the bill did create a much needed dialogue surrounding higher education issues and I look forward to continuing our work with the legislature in January," says David Allison, CSSA President.

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